CANON CITY, Colo. - A Colorado teenage, disabled at birth, is finally getting the equipment and help he needs.
Aaron Edwards has a wheelchair with a seat molded to fit his body for extra support, a track/lift system to transport him in the bathroom and bedroom and his mom has a van with a lift.
The changes have come in the 11 months since Edwards and his mother received a check last year on Christmas Eve that they had been waiting years for.
Aaron's mother, Mitzi Roden, said Aaron was injured at birth in Florida in 1997. Ten years later, a jury found that negligent actions by nurses at a Lee Memorial Health System hospital caused Aaron's crippling brain injury and that the nurses failed to follow standard hospital rules and regulations. The jury awarded Aaron's family damages of $30.8 million.
However, the family wasn't able to collect because although the hospital was private at the time of Aaron's birth. It had since been bought out by the government and government-run hospitals have sovereign immunity.
In Florida, sovereign immunity prevents individuals from collecting judgments of more than $200,000 from government agencies without the state legislature passing a bill to allow it.
The attorney for Aaron and his family, Chris Searcy, worked with the Florida lawmakers to introduce and pass a claims bill. It called for a lump sum settlement of $10 million and then $1 million a year over 5 years.
The first check arrived last December at the family's home near Canon City. They moved there from Florida so Roden could work as a dog groomer while she cared for Aaron.
The money went into a Special Needs Trust that will help pay Aaron's ongoing, 24-hour medical expenses for the rest of his life. Now the money is buying special equipment for Aaron.